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When it comes to the beginning of October, it is hard not to notice a great number of students wearing either formal suits or eye-catching costumes standing in the podium area, holding placards and chanting slogans, while their noise can be heard throughout the whole campus. So, what are they actually doing? Well, this is the time when student societies elect their executive committees.

Let’s hear the stories of two students to find out more about the experience of executive committee members at CityU.

New school environment
It is never easy to adapt to a new environment. “It was hard to adapt to the Hong Kong culture as it is culturally very different from my hometown, Zhejiang in mainland China. Apart from the culture, the school environment was really new and unfamiliar to me, as there are many projects, presentations and discussions here in CityU. In the mainland, our daily assignments are mostly exercises and assignments”, said Zibin Yuan, a year one student studying in the College of Business.

Communication with the locals
“During the discussion sessions in class and hall committee meetings, I felt rather left out as most of the locals would gather among themselves and talk in Cantonese, which I didn’t fully understand. So, I tried hard to learn Cantonese and now the situation is much better as my Cantonese has improved and the locals are willing to communicate with me in Putonghua”, a smiling Zibin said.

We are finally elected. Let’s celebrate our hard work!

A determination to contribute
Although there were a number of difficulties lined up in front of Zibin, he did not feel deflated. On the contrary, he chose to face things squarely and integrate into the local culture. “The factor which motivated me to become a student hall committee member was that I had met lots of friends in the hall orientation camp. They had invited me to be part of the committee. I wanted to contribute to the hall and prolong the warm, family-like atmosphere among hall mates that was created by the last student hall committee. Thus, I joined the committee”, Zibin said proudly.

Have more self-initiative and be meticulous
Zibin’s role in the student hall committee is IT secretary, responsible for publishing posters and leaflets. Comparing the nature of extracurricular activities in university with those of high school, he thought the biggest difference was that he needed to have more self-initiative and pay attention to details because even one small mistake would be challenged by others.

Problems solved after discussion
It’s a normal phenomenon that people have diverse viewpoints. “There were disagreements at the initial stage of the formation of the student hall committee. For example, some committee members complained about the uneven distribution of workload in planning hall activities. However, problems were ultimately solved after discussion. Thus, there were no major conflicts among members after this”, Zibin explained.

Prolonging friendship
“We promoted our cabinet by shouting the names and our slogans out, which is part of the tradition of student society elections”, said Cherry Tang, a local student majoring in Translation and Interpretation. She and her friends wanted to prolong their friendship and organise some activities for members, and hence she decided to form the executive committee of her department. “There was not much hands-on support from the previous cabinet because they wanted to give us more room to develop our potentials”, Cherry said calmly.

It’s time for the cabinet members to have fun after a hectic promotional schedule.

Challenges on the consultation day
When asked what the most challenging part in the campaigning process was, Cherry replied, “the consultation day was a challenging one and yet it was the process from which I gained the most. The questions were really tough and it really made me feel discouraged. However, we learnt a lot about our weaknesses during the consultation day. We realised that the seniors who raised questions on the consultation day did not intend to embarrass us, but to help us reflect upon ourselves, so it was fine overall”.

New blood wanted!
For students who want to be members of the executive committees of various student societies, please attend the recruitment talks organised by the present student societies in early September each year. Watch out for posters on the notice boards on campus or email announcements. For students who want to be part of the hall committees, look for the recruitment posters on your floor in early September.

There is no doubt that forming a cabinet is a journey of self-exploration and an invaluable experience that promotes personal development.